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Faculty To Present Highest Honor to Sen. Claiborne Pell
During Brown University Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 28, 2006, former U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, Rhode Island’s longest serving senator, will be presented with the University faculty’s highest honor, the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Sen. Claiborne Pell, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Rhode Island history, will accept the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal during Brown University’s Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 28, 2006. The award, which is the highest honor the Brown faculty can bestow, will be presented by Robert Pelcovits, professor of physics and chair of the Faculty Executive Committee.
“Sen. Claiborne Pell is a man whose great vision and legislative skill broke new ground in many areas of public policy, particularly in the arts and in higher education,” Pelcovits said. “One measure of Sen. Pell’s accomplishments during his decades of public service is that many members of the Brown faculty who now present this award – as well as many of this year’s graduates and their parents – were eligible for the educational grants that now bear the Senator’s name.”
Senator Claiborne Pell
A Democrat from Newport, R.I., Pell served in the U.S. Senate from 1961-1997. He was chairman of the Committee for Foreign Relations; chairman of the Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities; member of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources; chairman of the Committee on Rules and Administrations; member of the Democratic Policy Committee; and served on the Executive Committee of the Environmental and Energy Study conference.
During his political career, Pell took a leading role in eliminating financial barriers to higher education. He authored legislation that created the Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, which Congress named Pell Grants in 1980. He was also the principal sponsor of a 1965 law establishing the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Pell as a delegate to the initial meeting of the International Maritime Consultative Organization in 1959 and as a delegate to the 25th United Nations General Assembly in 1970. Pell served often as a Senate advisor to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. He also was the first Senate advisor appointed to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) and served as a member of the Commission on Improving the Effectiveness of the United Nations. Pell was appointed by President William J. Clinton as a representative of the United States to the 51st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1996.
The Senator has received 20 decorations, including the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest non-military award of the United States, and was awarded medals by both the Kingdom and the Republic of Italy, four by Portugal, two by the Netherlands, and by France, Sweden, Greece, Liechtenstein, Austria, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Knights of Malta and by Cardinal Koenig of Austria. Fifty-one colleges and universities have also awarded him honorary doctorates.
The Senator is an honorary trustee of St. George's School and trustee emeritus of Brown University. He has been a member of the Board of Visitors of both the United States Naval Academy and the United States Coast Guard. He is director of the Society of Friends of Touro Synagogue of Newport and attends Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport. Pell is also a trustee of Save the Bay. He has written two books, Power and Policy: America's Role in World Affairs (1972) and Megalopolis Unbound (1966), and co-authored a third, Challenge of the Seven Seas (1966).
Pell earned his A.B degree, summa cum laude, in history from Princeton University and his M.A. degree from Columbia University. He was awarded an honorary degree by Brown (Doctor of Laws – LL.D.) in 1972. The University also awarded Nuala Pell, the senator’s wife, the President’s Medal, the highest honor a Brown President may bestow, in 1977.
The Rosenberger Medal
The Rosenberger Medal is awarded through the Susan Colver Rosenberger Fund, established by Jesse L. Rosenberger in 1919 as a memorial to his wife, the daughter of Charles K. Colver, Class of 1842. His gift provided that from time to time a medal should be awarded for what was termed “specially notable or beneficial achievement.” The award is voted by the Brown University faculty in executive session.
Previous recipients include Artemis Joukowsky, chancellor emeritus, and Martha Sharp Joukowsky, professor emerita; Charles Evans Hughes, former chief justice of the United States; John D. Rockefeller Jr.; Mary Emma Woolley, educator and Mt. Holyoke president; Theodore Francis Green, former governor and senator from Rhode Island; Alexander Meiklejohn, educator and Amherst College president; Thomas J. Watson Jr., former vice chancellor; Brown presidents Henry M. Wriston, Howard R. Swearer and Vartan Gregorian; and Sheila Blumstein, the Albert D. Mead Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences and interim president of Brown.